Street lights illuminate a bustling Coleman Boulevard. Crowds of runners, walkers and joggers bump up and down the sidewalks on their way to chain-link corrals. German shepherds sniff around for trouble, and Uptown Funk blasts from the speakers suspended overhead.
The 42nd Annual Cooper River Bridge run is upon us.
Based on the crowd at Starbucks, one might suppose that they’re giving something away, but alas, it’s still four bucks. Besides, should you drink coffee before you run? Fancy a cheese danish?
Fueling your body on race-day morning is just part of the equation when it comes to tackling 6.2 miles. There are three main components (other than your training) that will help you cruise, rather than crawl, across the finish line and into Marion Square to collect your hardware.
- Your hydration plan should begin the day before you climb the bridge. On Friday, drink the recommended half gallon of water (8, 8 oz. glasses), and check out the color of your urine. It’s the simplest and most effective way to monitor your hydration. It should closely resemble freshly squeezed lemonade. Even minor dehydration can cause your muscles to cramp and fatigue early. Remember, the hill going into mile two is a doozy.
- Also, on Friday night, enjoy some extra carbohydrates at dinner—pasta and slow-burning whole grains are the best. Eat your normal calorie intake; just shift it to increase the amount you’re getting from carbs. The often-vilified carbohydrate is broken down in your small intestine and turned to a sugar called glucose. Your body uses what it needs right away and then stores the rest for later. This sugar, which is mainly stored in your muscles and liver, is a ready reserve of giddy-up.
- The morning of the race is not a good time to try something new. So, about that coffee and cheese danish. Plenty of runners drink coffee before a morning run, and research has shown that it improves performance. However, drink too much, and you could find yourself racing to a port-a-potty rather than the finish line. Runner’s World Magazine recommends eating two to three hours before a race. But, stay away from high-fiber foods. An egg, white bagel, peanut butter and banana are all good options. For your morning hydration, drink a bottle of water with your early breakfast to avoid feeling like you’re running with a fishbowl in your tummy. Lastly, around a half hour before you run, have half a bottle of water or a sports drink.
Whether you’re wearing a chicken costume, jogging with friends to promote a cause, or you’re out to set a personal best, go and have a great time! And, as they say, get over it!